Tuesday, May 15, 2007

On Falwell

Jerry Falwell passed away earlier today, apparently from a heart-related affliction.

It's no secret that I was not a fan of Falwell's ideology and most of his theological leanings. I think he worked to polarize the Christian faith and compartmentalize for the political gain of the political party he favored. I'm not suggesting he is alone in doing so, but, as the founder of the 'Moral Majority,' he was arguably one of the most effective.

That said, Falwell passed away earlier today, and I feel a sense of loss. As a Christian, he and I shared the same faith, despite our vast differences across the political and theological spectrum. He was a leader of the Religious Right movement and, rightly or wrongly, he worked to spur those who shared his beliefs into a life of political activism.

Two weeks, I taught a lesson to my Sunday School on John Wesley (fitting they picked the former Methodist). It focused on his life and was the last of an examination of three other leaders in the church (along with Martin Luther and St. Francis of Assisi) and their works in the social justice realm.

One part that impressed me was Wesley's attachment to this passage from the fifth chapter from Paul's second letter to Corinth:

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
- 2 Corinthians 5: 16-21

As the church was continuing to grow, as well as work to reform itself in some capacities (as Wesley was a part of the Church of England at the time), he found solace in this verse. From it, he drew a desire to work with those individuals who he differed with on some aspects by focusing on their shared commonalities rather than their differences. And the central commonality was their unwavering faith in God. Reconcilation to Him would ultimately mean, in due time, reconcilation to each other.

Falwell and I didn't have much in common, but I would hope that eventually we could have shared that same reconcilation.


Anonymous Joshua said...

"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

"And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."

2Timothy 4:2-4

3:38 PM  

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